Islam, Transnational Dress and Identity: Migration of Images, Transformation of Meanings
Contemporary Islamic dress as well as cultural identity of Islamic women in urban environment are today widely influenced and re-defined by migrations and globalization. Diverse contemporary clothing styles of Muslim women today must be understood in the context of rise of neoliberal economics in Muslim countries and the resurgence of Muslim identities worldwide. The purpose of this article is to present the transnational meaning of the veil (a form of headgear or body covering) and offer an insight into the new Muslim dressing practices which are symbolically as well as materially shaped by both ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ cultures. A thorough analysis also shows that in general, for the majority of Muslim women, the wearing of the veil today is perceived as an important expression of belonging and affirmation of the cultural identity. As a multi-layered concept, deeply integrated into political, social, personal and, nevertheless, visual interpretations, this new transnational Muslim fashion is thus opening up new perspectives in the perception of the identity of ‘modern’ Muslim women and thus revealing an important testimony to the cultural significance of migrations.
KEY WORDS: Islam, transnational dress, identity, migrations, globalization
Migration and globalisation today critically impact the redefinition of Muslim dress in the modern world and the formation of the cultural identities of women of the Muslim faith in urban environments. The purpose of the article is to present the transnational significance of the veil (in the form of headgear or body covering) and to offer insights into new interpretations of modern Muslim fashion, which reflects the interweaving of various dress practices in new compositions. The formation of new hybrid forms of Muslim dress is therefore manifested both symbolically and materially in both “eastern” and “western” culture. The article, through a concrete analysis of the problematics arising in connection with Islamic dress codes, indicates that the veil today is not just a personalised manifestation of Islamic faith expressed in the visual image of Muslim women, but a multi-layered concept which is deeply integrated into political, social, personal and also visual interpretations. The new transnational Muslim fashion in the light of transculturality opens up new perspectives on the perception of the identities of “modern” Muslim women and bears significant witness to the cultural importance of migrations.